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"HONGZ" stands for HO scale, N scale, G scale, and Z scale.

Post your non-O scale stuff here!

Howdy Crew!
It's been a long time since I've been an active poster here at good ol' OGR. Along the way I had forgotten what a great group of fellow enthusiasts that always seems to encourage one another and interact. My loss!
Anyway, this will be a build thread for my layout that's based in the Ozarks. Here's the particulars:

* It is wholly contained within a purpose-built 16' x 20' (15' x 19' interior) HVAC equipped out building.

* It utilizes three of the four walls therein along with a small peninsula.

* Approximately 150' total main line length.

* Partial dual-level construction.

The layout will host TWO different era's and themes:

* Early-mid 1960s diesel era via my Kansas City & Gulf free/proto-lanced theme.

* Late-1880s via my Ozark & Southern free/proto-lanced theme.

Layout Features Overview:

* Contains lower and upper level 7-track stub end stage areas.

* Has reverse loops on both levels for turning equipment.

* There are lower and upper towns on the dual level portion. There will be two other towns with modest switching opportunities along the way (along with two industry spurs along the main).

* The "mountain grade" will actually be a "Nolix". That is, the bulk of the climb will be out in the open to be seen and appreciated (not partially hidden in a spiral helix) and the grade itself will be a primary feature of the operational scheme. The ruling grade will begin immediately upon leaving the lower town.

This will eventually be a LONG thread. All sorts of topics will be shared, discussed and/or covered. As well, there will be some "how I done it" stuff. Comments and questions are encouraged and hoped for.
SO... come along and let's head for the Ozarks!

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest


To kick this off, I'm going to repost a link (shared in a previous thread on another OGR forum) that takes you to the textual history of the Kansas City & Gulf. IF you like to read short narratives, hopefully you'll enjoy. However, IF you like "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" type of in-your-face graphic-oriented web pages, this link won't be for you.

ANYWAY pour you up a cup of coffee/whatever, and here 'tis for those that may be interested:

All fer now!


Been busy with other projects. BUT thought I'd stop by and pitch up a track plan to acquaint you with what I've got going on with my Ozark layout. Hopefully, you'll be able to see these photos (via clicking/enlarging) well enough (forum shrinks pictures) to understand the plan.

The lower level:


The upper level:


The upper right is the same on both plans, so that's where you connect the two plans.

All fer now!



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SantaFeJim posted:


There is not enough contrast to see your track plan.

Took the plans into Microsoft Office Picture Manager, and hit auto-correct.  Here are the plans. 

This is going to be a fun layout to operate, and given past photos of Andre's work, I'm sure it will be outstanding modeling!



Andre Layout lower levelAndre Layout upper level


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Hi All!

Been without internet service for a few days. Just got it back a bit ago. Some replies:

Santa Fe Jim:

I didn't fully realize that the forum software would not allow expanding the photo to the original resolution. When expanded, the details are more apparent. Of course, that doesn't help here. Thanks Jerry for trying to help via contrast/etc.

Tinplate Art:

Thanks for the kind words.  Seems no matter how hard I plan, I still have "Surprise!" moments that CAN be accompanied with "oh sh*t!" moments.


Yes, I have a couple/three V scale versions (all incomplete) that run through Digital Elevation Models of the terrain in my proposed region of the Ozarks. I learned from this excercise that prototype could have done it, too!  However, with a huge caveat: The resulting line would have been horrendously expensive to build/operate. By the way, I never completed any of the V scale versions, so they were never released via my "V Scale Creations" endeavor. However, from closely reading your question, I am assuming you're asking if I made a virtual model railroad using my KC&G theme as can be done in such a feature as offered by Trainz? In that case, no. My V scale versions were full length (a scale 100 or so miles!), through accurately rendered digital terrain. Keep in mind that I also use my web space at my VSC domain to host other interests of mine. (Model railroading, trail riding of motorcycles/etc.)


You've got it!



IF you would like to read some more silliness, I have converted two more essays to html and uploaded them.

* The history of the KC&G's diesel roster:

* A fictional regional (regional to the KC&G's Ozark Sub) rail enthusiasts experience as he chases a KC&G freight in the Autumn of '64:

Later on we'll get into construction photos etc!


Hi Art!

So you're into V scale, also? I take it your chosen medium is Trainz? 

That so, my routes are all for Microsoft's "Train Simulator" (aka MSTS) with all the upgrades installed. My routes are also compatible with "Open Rails Train Simulator" which is an open-source simulator system that can use legacy MSTS content. But, unfortunately, none of my routes would be compatible with Trainz.

Otherwise, I would send you links to some of my V scale stuff for you to explore and (hopefully) enjoy on your computer.


Last edited by laming

Hi Art!

I tried the "Raildriver" control stand ( ) that simulates a "desktop" control configuration. I really didn't catch on to it. My interest in diesels is well before the "desktop" era. Besides, I soon migrated almost exclusively to steam in V scale... so the "Raildriver" was placed on a shelf in the closet where it remains to this day.

Yes, I do like the challenge of handling trains over grades that reflect it's prototype. (If the route is based on a prototype and not "free lanced", and I have some of those too.)

The physics model in MSTS and Open Rails can be modified ("tweaked") to do a fair job of replicating the nuances of handling trains over mountainous terrain. I have a route that simulates grades of over 5% (Stampede Pass Switchbacks) and handling trains over that spaghetti bowl of track is quite a challenge!

Here's a view from within the simulator of a light engine at the town location of "Stampede". This is from a "raw", in-process route, so no full-blown scenery at this point, only track, bridges, and cribbing. However, this gives you and idea of the ruggedness of the terrain the Stampede Switchbacks traversed. Grades here go up to 5.6%!


My favorite use of V scale is to use it as a vehicle to indulge in my link n' pin era fascination. I have routes based on the Colorado Midland of the 1890s, Stampede Pass: The Switchbacks late 1880s, Denver South Park & Pacific in the mid-1880s, Silverton RR (late 19th century), and a whopper of a route in-process I call the "New England Lines", circa late 1860s. (And that's only some of them.)

I like both: V scale and tactile model railroading. (HO in my case.)

However, of late I seem to be spending more time with my HO projects... and for SURE spending a TON more loot. (V scale is very cost effective... VERY.)

All fer now!



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Last edited by laming

Backing up on the wye to the tail track involved a rail greaser and a grade so avoiding slipping the drivers and not picking the points was a little tricky! After clearing the switch, I was going slow enough to just apply the engine brake to stop the train. We had a turntable at the other end of the line and a 1000 foot tunnel in between.

I plan to follow along with this thread. Sounds like it will be interesting! I was born in Kansas City (still here) so I'm really enjoying reading the history of the KC&G and KCS railroads on your website. I don't know a lot about the real railroads or their history, but since retiring at the end of 2011 I've developed an interest in learning more about the trackage around the KC area. 

My interest has been in learning about the tracks that remain here.  Such as, who started out with what track, who has it now, what happened causing track to no longer be used, mergers through the years, etc.  With all the railroad history here, there's plenty to learn.

Your website has also given me the thought of trying to trace some of these routes on a map (Google Earth or other). The Train Simulator program and routes/maps/terrain you are creating also sounds interesting. I didn't know train simulator programs could do all that? More to learn about while following along here. 

Morning all!

Our internet is has been down, then on/off/on/off... repeat until frustrated. Anyway, a quick pic or two for now, back later after church for some replies.

No visiting operators this week, been running some trains by my lonesome (I enjoy that, too). Here's a pic of the South Stage when I left it for the evening. Next out will be the short coal extra you see in the foreground:


Also, picked up a neat little wreck train crane n' tender car. I will eventually strip the numbers and likely repaint the flat/etc. Remind me to tell you why I decided to purchase one.


The thingie-ma-bobs in front are: Left four items - Out riggers for the crane car. Right item - crank handle for the boom and hook.

All fer now... gotta' load up the music gear and head off to church!



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Last edited by laming



Yes, I enjoy the challenges that train simulation software can offer. It's not perfect by a far stretch, but it's a fun aspect to the hobby of trains that model railroading doesn't adequately convey. (i.e. Train handling.)


I was born and raised in KC until the tender age of 16 when my parents relocated to the land of their nativity: Arkansas. Took me all of two weeks to fall "life long" in love with country living! Love mountains from all over, Rockies, Alleghenies, New England... mountains! Here in my region, it's the mountains that I live nearby: The Ozarks as well as the Ouachita Range. (We're on the northern most edge of the Ouachita Mountains.)

SO: I have a wonderful collection of memories (lots of train memories) from my childhood/youthful years in KC, and wonderful memories (including train memories) and ongoing experiences among the mountains of AR/OK.

As for KC:

KC has a very rich railroading history. At one time there were SO many lines there. Off the cuff, from my childhood/youth years in KC I can remember: ATSF; SLSF; UP; CRIP; CGW; GM&O; KCT; Wabash; CB&Q; KCS; MILW; Mop; and MKT.

Check out these 1855 era renditions of KC!



I think the rails first arrived at KC in the 1860s. Here's KC in 1867:


KC trains 'n me:

In fact, once I get a good handle on my Ozark layout, I intend to have a small L-shaped shelf layout here in my computer room that will have a KC "urban industrial" theme to it. This will be a place that I can model scenes that reflect my memories and experiences in/around KC. I already have a "start here" track plan! Here's a rough copy:


Model railroading truly can be a "way of life" for those of us that hopelessly hooked on trains!



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Yes it certainly does, and your interest and knowledge too! Thanks for that added KC info and the pictures too. I knew there were once a lot of railroads coming to KC and I think at least 5 of the Class 1's still serve KC in some capacity today. Lots of history though.

I was born here in 1952 and still here. It's really changed a lot here in that time. We've kind of gone from more of a small town to a big city in the time since I was a kid. Not sure how much the population has increased here, but it sure seems like a LOT more people here now. 

I have been to Fort Smith Arkansas and a few other places, Beaver Lake (Rogers area) and many places just south of the Missouri border through there. Not sure what mountains are on the way to Fort Smith? It's quite an impressive and scenic drive from like Rogers or so on down to Ft. Smith though. Very nice part of the country!  

A few years ago they converted 71 highway to an Interstate, now I-49. Haven't been there since the change but it didn't change the neat drive through there very much. That was already 4 lane divided highway through the mountainous areas. 

Looking forward to following along here.

Last edited by rtr12

November 16, 1964...

KC&G GP7 #412 idles beside the engine house while the crew's shootin' the bull with the engine house Foreman: Ol' Jess. Braggin' rights are at stake, for they're right in the midst of seeing who bagged the most squirrels on yesterday's opening day of squirrel season. Meanwhile, a KC&G ALCo (RS-3 #269) slumbers silently in the engine house for Ol' Jess to renew going over it for the mandated service inspection.

This is the calm before the storm, for it won't be long and the northbound coal train will hit town, which is precisely what #412's crew is waiting on. When it does, they'll tack on to the caboose, and once the highball comes from the head end, with a cacophonous uproar the entire entourage will gather up what run they can muster, and another battle up The Mountain will begin.

Life moves at a different pace on the KC&G up in the mountains of the Arkansas Ozarks.


All fer now.


P.S. Thought I'd better see what the new software was like to work with. Had to go through pages of forum postings to find this old thread. Sure lots of "backdrops" being offered.


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"Ozark Autumn, 1964...

What's left of the former flagship train #11, the "Gulf Coast Flyer", actually had a station stop at Mountain Springs, Ark today. After little more than a short pause in #11's southward trek, hogger "Hotshot" Chadwick whistled off... and left town with a vengeance. For now, there's still a pair of passenger trains running on the KC&G, but there's more mail than riders. However, it's the mail that's keeping the trains moving... for now."


(You'll have to use your imagination to "see" the beautiful scenery I haven't built yet!!   )

All fer now!


WOW! Long time since I've updated this thread!

Lots going on. I now have over 20 DCC/Sound equipped engines in service on the Ozark Subdivision of the KC&G and a pipeline of engines waiting their turn to get DCC/Sound installed.

The last couple of months I've been working on getting my backlog of undec units modified (as I desire) and detailed. I've learned to ship them off to my Sound Guy with all details removed, and preferably un-painted. Less for the Sound Guy to have to deal with and the less prone to have details detach themselves from the model/etc.

Anyway, I hope to get you all caught up to speed on my doin's since my last update back in March of '20. For starters, here's a pic of my F unit fleet I've modified and detailed. These are waiting their turn to make the trek to the Sound Guy.


All fer now! More later!



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Last edited by laming

The KC&G's CMO is really PO'd. Seems of late there's been a few switching mishaps. None serious... but still indicative of "less than safe" operation by some within Train Service.

Case in point is GP7 #418. Seems the hogger ended up slightly cornering a car in the small yard at the helper town of Ozarka, resulting in a bit of bruising and scraping. Nothing too serious, but enough of an incident for concern, nonetheless. Most serious casualty was a battery box cover that was ripped off and crunched past repair. Also taking some damage was the front corner step guard and a deep scrape on the side of the cab. Most concerning damage was the handrail that tried to turn into a pretzel. That resulted in a safety appliance violation that had to be fixed before the unit could be returned to service.

Fortunately the chaps at the small Ozarka engine house were able to apply some heat with the acetylene torch and with the help of a sledge and a track bar, they were able to straighten the handrail enough to comply with the safety appliance codes and thus get the unit back into service. However, ol' #418 will carry it's battle scars for how long now? Below are some pics illustrating the results of the incident.

The side damage...


A closer look at the bungled handrail...


However, a struggling line has to do what they've gotta' do... so once patched up good 'enuf... back into service it went. Here's #418 once again ready to do what it's been doing for the Casey for right at 14 years...


Modeling info:

The above is one of the pair of P2K GP7's I've received back from the Sound Guy. I got the idea of the side damage from pictures I have, or results I've seen/etc. I enjoy reflecting such wear and tear on engines and such. It's definitely a part of the railroading scene, especially given my era and theme choices. My current goal is to get enough engines on hand with DCC/Sound installed to cover my operating sessions. Once I have enough on hand so that a pair of them won't inconvenience me, then I will take two undec's off the layout and start the painting and final details process. Those two finished and back in service, I'll pull two more and rinse and repeat.

Oh, and I need to tell you about the malady that sister unit #427 was involved in, too. I tell 'ya, railroading the Ozark Mountains ain't fer sissies!



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Frankly, I can't remember if there were batteries on that side, too, or if it was an air valving. The picture I have of a Frisco unit missing the very same door appears dark inside and I can't see what's in there. Further, it's been so long since I've run/been around GP7's that I can't remember either. I know on GP38's, 40's, etc, there were air valves were under the floor on engineer's side, and I think over under the Fireman's side, too. (I've had to change them out doing an FRA required scheduled replacement)

Anyway... I've thought about using a modified triple valve casting with some brass wire for piping inside that empty styrene box that I created, but I need to see if that's what's really inside on the prototype first. Once painted, the styrene box I built inside the open door will be painted black so you won't be able to see much in there anyway.

Joe! (Toth, right?)

How 'ya doing?

I gave up on S scale several years ago. I simply missed the huge variety available in HO. S is a great size crippled by a tiny (compared to HO) offering of product. From the looks of it (the demise of SHS, and now MTH/etc), I know I made the right decision in view of where I wanted to go with my model railroading.

V scale as a hobby outlet for me is safe and sound. I still indulge every now and then, but I've come to prefer to invest my time into my model railroading instead.

Good to see yer still kickin'! I love being retired. Had I known it would be this much fun, I would have retired when I was in my 20s. 

All fer now.

Hm... perhaps I need to post the story of #427 later today?

All fer now.



I cut the first stick of lumber for the bench work on February 19th, 2019. By the end of July the same year, I had the railroad 100% functional. The line contains about 135' of mainline, two 7 track stage areas, 55' of mountain grade that ranges between 2.75 to 2.9%, along with track at five small  towns, with two having small yards. Since that time, I, and several of my friends, have been enjoying the fruits of my labor. (I love operating a layout in a prototypical fashion.)

In the meantime, I have been building my roster of engines and getting engines and rolling stock into service in order to more fully exploit my theme that I originally envisioned. I'm currently up to about 21 DCC/Sound equipped road units in service, but only about 10 of those are in paint. (The rest are still undecorated.)

As you can see above, I posted the basic trackplan as best I could. I reckon I need to post up some construction pics as well as current pics of the way things be on my Ozark Sub of the Kansas City & Gulf. (Unfortunately it's still pretty much a barren "Plywood Pacific"! I'm hoping to tackle backdrop boards, priming of same, and lighting/valance when the weather gets warmer.)

All fer now!


Railroadin' in the Ozarks can make for some pretty excitin' moments at times. Some of those moments can even be "stain yer Hanes" moments. Case in point:

Things were goin' pretty smooth (for railroading on the Casey's Ozark Sub) in the middle of a cold autumn night as Extra 427 South rumbled past the small dept at Piney and started dropping down the bane of the entire KC&G: Buck Mountain Grade. Buck Mountain Grade is several miles of 2.5%, with stretches at or near 2.9%. (Some swear it hits 3%, but the MOW Big Heads vehemently deny that.) All the Old Heads know this grade well and have a deep respect for Buck Mountain Grade, and the newcomers learn to respect it in a hurry. Things can go bad in a hurry on Buck Mountain, especially if it's self-inflicted and you've pi**ed away your air. You get experience in a hurry taking trains down Buck Mountain.

The lights pierced a hole in the darkness as the hogger, an old head by the name of "Tater" Smith, dropped off the face of the earth onto the side of Buck Mountain and into the blackness of a cold moonless night. Things were going pretty smooth. GP7 #427 had a great set of cab heaters and the cab was toasty warm, Tater had his air set "just so" and was only having to use throttle to ease them through short let ups in the grade as he glided his train down Buck Mountain. Warm cab. Good handling train. Can't get much better than this.

Rounding the curve that plunges the train into Buck Hollow... Tater's heart jumped into his throat.

"HIT THE DECK!" Tater hollered to his nodding Fireman and Head End Brakeman.

Of what Tater could see among the eerie and grotesque shadows, a large tree looked to be laying on the rails! Avoiding big holing... Tater pulled off a deep set of air and ducked below the window for cover, as did the Fireman and the Head End Brakeman. If they went off the rails, it would be better to be crouched and braced, and if they stayed on the rails, at the least, they'd need to stop and check out the damage that this one WAS going to inflict upon the consist that was under Tater's charge.

With a loud "ka-WHUMPH"... followed by a the sound of rustling... Extra 427 plowed right through the tree. The trio of mountain railroaders crouched in the cab of that Geep breathed a huge sigh of relief that the engines stayed on the rails and the air hadn't busted into Emergency. Still rolling, Tater got up, and sat back into the "Hot Seat" of the slowing train only to face darkness: The impact had taken out the head lights. Eventually Extra 427 South ground to a halt near Jack Fork crossing.

"What's wrong Tater?" crackled the radio. It was the hind end as the Brains wanted to know what had happened.

"We got through a tree. Looked to be a big 'un. Got no headlights. I'm fixin' to go out and check the motor's over."

"Gotcha. We'll start walkin' up checking the train. Tell Henpeck (Head End Brakeman) to git out an' start poundin' the chat back to us lookin' things over."

"He's already on his way", came Tater's reply. Tater continued: "I'll be tryin' to raise the 'Spatcher on the horn to let 'em know what's goin' on before I git out an' start seein' what I can do 'bout the head lights."

Henpeck had already grabbed his Star lantern, cinched up against chill of the night air, and had started back into the cold night air to check the train, eventually meet up with Fat Dog and Midge. (The Conductor and Rear Brakeman.)

Fortunately, the headlight housing was intact, not so the beams. Using the small batch of tools Tater carried in his grip, Tater was able to pull the beams out of the rear light, and get the front light up and going again. That would be a huge help, for trying to ease your way the rest of the way off the grade to Ozarka (where the units could be safely swapped around to get a functioning headlight on the point) using nothing but a Star lantern hung on the front handrail would be a mite discomfiting, to say nothing of complicating a crossing. Amazingly, the damage was limited to the headlight, and what looked to be the steam generator stack, which now had a new crease in it, courtesy of the limb that whacked the tar out of it. That must have only been a limb hanging low and the rest of what appeared to be a huge tree trunk across the rails was a result of the strange shadows from the headlight that the branch was playing upon the rails. It happens.

Henpeck returned to the cab, and Fat Dog and Midge made it back to the shack. The train was fine. It would be A-okay to continue.

Tater put the set of power in reverse, and eased out the throttle to about 3 notch. The amp gauge needle went up the dial to about the 12 o'clock position. The units were loading fine. Seeing that all things were good, Tater knocked off the train air, and using the engines to lean against the the train (holding it in place), he recharged his airline. (No way the engine brakes would have held back the tonnage.) It would have been fool hardy indeed to just kick the air off after a deep set and start merrily down the Mountain. You'd regret that decision in hurry just as soon as you started pulling off what's left of your air for the set that was surely coming.

Air up, it was slack off the throttle, into Forward, and start what hoped to be an uneventful trip the rest of the way to Clarskville.

Railroading the mountains can make for some mighty unusual experiences. Pitch in the fact that yer railroading mountains on the Casey... and that makes it even more unpredictable. However, that's the way it is on the KC&G's Ozark Sub.

The Model...

I modeled P2K GP7 #427 as a steam generator equipped Geep. It's the last unit in the KC&G's GP7 roster. The last three GP7's were ordered with steam generators to cover some of the lesser passenger trains that were still operating in the early 1950s when the Geeps were purchased. The dented steam generator stack idea was gleaned from Frisco GP7 #618, which had such a steam generator stack that obviously had received a thump somewhere along it's travel through life. Here's a composite pic showing the lasting reminder of that fateful night coming down Buck Mountain:


(Also note the handle on the sand hatch took a thump, too.)

I concocted the above scenario to explain the damaged stack on #427 which reflects what I see in my pics of Frisco #618, but also draws from several experiences I had while railroading the Ozark Mountains myself.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed creating it! (What can I say? I was in a story-telling mood!)

All fer now.



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@Rob Leese posted:

Quite a thump to knock off all your paint and forward grabirons, too !?!?


Smart azz!

You ought to really like my hand-written Post-It numbers on the cab sides! (Barely discernible in the above pic, Engineer's side.)

However, I'll bet the crews are going to miss that old scheme once the painting starts.

Grab Irons 'n Paint:

I will not be using the plastic grab irons that P2K supplies. I will be putting on DA's wire grabs. That won't happen until the unit gets pulled from service for painting. Right now I need serviceable (i.e. DCC/Sound) units. Niceties like paint and the rest of the details can wait until the tipping point is reached where I can numerically afford to start rotating two units at a time out of service for a trip through the paint shop and final details.



HO has a lot to commend it. You will gain 30% more layout compared to S scale. Leaving N, you will surrender about 30%. HO also has the ability to determine your time investment: Minimize time investment by purchasing RTR: Engines with or without DCC/Sound as well as rolling stock, even prebuilt and lightly weathered structures, etc! I just purchased an old Chevy log truck w/logs (Woodland Scenics) that is already weathered and ready for the layout! OR... maximize your time investment (if a small layout) and assemble kits and/or roll your own schemes via paint/decals. Many different ways to skin the cat in HO scale.


Welcome to the Ozarks! Glad yer hoppin' on!


Same to you, too... welcome to the land of Hillbilly's!

Fret thou not: I still smell the ozone! All of my 3 rail saw service on the Christmas village loop, and I suspect they will continue to make laps on my kitchen table as the mood hits. I'm always open to picking up more 3 rail pieces. too. My priority at this point is about what it was at my start of the "Scent Of Ozone" thread, that is, I'm not going to fully switch over to 3-rail  just yet, if ever. I hope my eyesight and dexterity will continue to hold up so I can further my KC&G Ozark Sub layout/theme. If not, then 3 rail to the rescue! In the meantime, I will continue to pick up pieces now and then as well as enjoy my 3-rail when I need to take a break from the more exacting efforts required to further my KC&G/Ozark Sub layout and theme.


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